When construction is complete, the class will comprise seven Astute submarines – each one packed with cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technology. They are:
• HMS Astute
• Boats 6 & 7 (yet to be officially named)
• Each Astute submarine is 97m long - greater than the length of 10 London buses.
• When fully stored they will displace 7,400 tonnes of sea water, equivalent to 65 blue whales.
• Advanced nuclear technology means they never need to be refuelled. The submarines will be fuelled by a nuclear reactor powerful enough to power a city the size of Southampton.
• They can circumnavigate the world without surfacing and the dived endurance is only limited by the amount of food that can be carried and the endurance of the crew.
• Each submarine manufactures its own oxygen and fresh water from the ocean.
• The Astute class is the first Royal Navy submarine not to be fitted with optical periscopes – instead the vessel employs high specification video technology. The images are delivered into the submarine via fibre-optic cables.
• Armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, they are able to strike at targets up to 1,000km from the coast with pinpoint accuracy – equivalent to driving from London to Paris and back twice.
• Around 110 km of cabling and pipe work will be installed on each submarine – equivalent to driving from Bristol to Oxford.
• The Sonar 2076 sonar suite has the processing power of 2,000 laptop computers. They have the world’s largest number of hydrophones, providing the Royal Navy with the “biggest ears” of any sonar system in service today.